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Biotechnology and Middle School Students

Larry Clay Greunke


ABT 395 project in Dr. Joe Chappell’s Laboratory
Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences
________________________________________________________________________
Abstract:
The objective of this project was to see if using an experimental based learning
system would help middle school students learn enough information to form an opinion
and be able to participate in social discussions concerning biotechnology. This
experimental-based system gave students the opportunity to participate in a two-day
camp. In this camp, they were exposed to methods and experiments including DNA
isolation, transformation of E. coli with plasmid DNA, restriction digestion of plasmid
DNA and separation by gel-electrophoresis. They also received lectures about the
rationale behind the experiments. Students were exposed to several different panels of
professionals from various fields discussing the impact and applications of
biotechnology. Students were also given the opportunity to learn about careers in
biotechnology and the current biotechnology events. Students were given a survey prior
to the start and one at the conclusion of the camp to see if their opinions, in regards to the
issues dealing with biotechnology, had changed at all over the course of the two-day
camp. The results suggest that the workshops facilitated the students developing a better
understanding of biotechnology and gaining a personal perspective on the role
biotechnology might play for society.

________________________________________________________________________

Introduction:
Webster may be able to define biotechnology in one sentence, but the word has
connotations with it that the dictionary fails to describe. Biotechnology encompasses both
a scientific approach to understanding the world around us, and the industrial application
of this science to specific needs in agriculture and medicine. However, questions and
concerns about adverse impacts of biotechnology have arisen in challenge to those who
have championed the power of science for practical applications. Scientific debate with
politicians and law makers are occurring and will continue concerning biotechnology’s
future role with respect to America’s civilization. Public familiarity with the concepts and
principles of biotechnology, as well as its limitations, are essential for effective
democratic decision making (5). And, it is essential that experts in the respective fields
provide suitable information and education opportunities to the public on both the
benefits and risks of biotechnology so that the public is able to form their own, informed
opinions.

Biotechnology appears to face conflicting interests based on its goals and aims.
One goal is to use the scientific power of biotechnology to understand the complexities of
cellular life. The end in this case is not controversial because such knowledge could serve
to better plant, animals and mankind welfare. However, the use of biotechnology to
explore and investigate certain organisms and the ultimate application of biotechnology
to human and animal health evokes strong ethical concerns. To some, experimentation
with plants, for example, might be acceptable, but for cows it might not be. Defining
moral and ethical boundaries appears to be becoming more and more the issue for
biotechnology.

Biotechnology’s second goal is to implement technology based on the knowledge


that we have obtained. This also poses a dilemma for biotechnology as well. Similar to
the objections raised above concerning the use of lower versus higher organisms, there
are concerns about which organisms are suitable for genetic engineering and which ones
are not. In one survey there was broad approval of genetic engineering applied to
microbes and plants, but not when genetic engineering is applied to animals (7). The
technology allows scientists to direct the expression of genes of interest into nonnative
recipients. An example illustrating this point is engineering of herbicide resistance into
crop plants. While on the one hand this resistance trait might provide farmers with the
ability to use safe and effective herbicides such as glyphosate, this new trait or some
modified form of it may spread to wild populations of weed species, thus eliminating the
benefits of the herbicide resistance traits in an agronomic crop.

Another example is the use of so-called Bt-corn. The Bt gene when engineered
into corn provides for a high level of insect resistance. However, the pollen from the Bt-
corn could be harmful to monarch butterflies also feeding on the corn pollen. While,
initially, it was feared that the pollen would have a drastic effect on the population of
butterflies, it turned out that the impact is low to negligible (3).

Concerns about possible discrimination based on DNA testing have been raised.
With an increase in knowledge of genes and their functions, genes that are known to
cause or be related to a health condition in humans can be tested for by molecular
screens. How this information might be used outside the realm of health care services has
created serious concerns. Could such genetic information be used to deny, limit, or cancel
insurance policies, or could an employer use such genetic information against current
employee or to screen potential employees (4)?

All of the scenarios above are examples of what biotechnology can offer, and the
conflicts it can create because it is not understood or recognized by the public. A British
study has confirmed this notion. When presented with a series of biotech questions, one
third, and more males than females, of High School students did not know what
biotechnology or genetic engineering was, and nearly one half could not give examples of
either biotechnology or genetic engineering (7). The current research project has a similar
orientation except our target was to gauge the views of middle school students and see
how their views change when presented with information.

Up until a few years ago, the most advanced technology a middle school student
was exposed to was a scalpel and a frog; today however, it is the television. Therefore, an
important task is to develop educational modules that engage the students. Crime Scene
Investigation (CSI) has been shown to be a tremendous catalyst in stimulating student
interest to learn more about biology and chemistry, and to understand that there are some
things that can be better taught with hands-on exercises rather than from a text book. This
was the premise that the “Biotechnology and YOU Camp” was organized around - to give
pre- and early teenagers the chance to have hands-on experience with some of the
technology that is at the fingertips of today’s biotechnologists. The objective of the camp
was to determine if an experiential based learning system would help middle school
student learn enough to form an opinion and to participate in social discussions
concerning biotechnology.

Materials and Methods:

Students were asked to take an introductory survey (pre-camp survey) that was
designed with 3 different sections (Appendix A). The first section consisted of knowledge
based question to recognize the student’s basic understanding of biotechnology and DNA.
The second section was to obtain a basic description of the student - where the student
obtains his/her information about biotechnology, along with demographic information to
student’s overall appreciation for science. The third section asked to students to take a
position on issues in a broad range of biotechnology topics. The students then
participated in a two day camp with events consisting of experiments such as
transformation, isolation of DNA, and separation of DNA by Gel Electrophoresis, as well
as an ethics panel and career opportunities for biotechnology (Appendix B). At the
conclusion of the camp, a post-survey (Appendix C) was administered.

The results from the pre- and post-surveys were compiled and the overall
differences between how the students answered before and after the camp were
compared. Unfortunately, the total number of participants was only 47 and therefore no
rigorous statistical analysis could be performed with this limited data set. Instead, relative
trends in the students’ attitudes and positions were the focus of my analysis.

Results and Discussion

Table 1: Demographic information of the students attending the camp.


Racial Ethnicity: White Black Asian Other
87% 10% 3% 0%
Age: 12 13 14 15
40% 48% 4% 8%
Gender: Male Female
60% 40%
Rural Town of 10,000 or
Residence: Farm County less
34% 38% 28%
4-H Club member: Yes No
56% 44%

Table 1 indicates that the student population attending the camps is reflective of the
population diversity of Kentucky (approximately 13% minority), slightly more boys than
girls and predominately from rural or farm communities.
Table 2: Sources of where students obtain their knowledge

How important is each of the


following as your source of
information about science and A lot Somewhat Not at All
technology?
Students who
attended the
Newspapers 8% 69% 23% camps rely on a
Magazines 16% 57% 27% wide range of
Scientific journals 47% 42% 11% sources for their
Books 41% 57% 2% scientific
Internet 61% 31% 8% information
Teachers 45% 55% 0%
(Table 2). Perhaps
Friends and Family 16% 54% 30%
somewhat
surprising is that the internet is the most important source of information for most of the
students.

Table 3: Survey comparison between the Pre-Camp and Post-Camp


Difference between
Post-camp to Pre-
Biotechnology Issues Pre-Camp Post-Camp camp
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of genetic
engineering for agricultural crops
and food 2.147 2.465 14.80%
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of genetic
engineering for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines)
2.343 2.591 10.60%
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of farm animals for
the production of pharmaceuticals
(medicines)
1.977 2.19 10.80%
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of crops for the
production of pharmaceuticals
(medicines)
2.643 2.718 2.80%
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of stem cells for
research 2.31 2.356 2.00%
The benefits of biotechnology out
weigh the risks 2.2 2.152 -2.20%
To what extent do you favor or
oppose the use of genetic
engineering to treat human diseases 2.762 2.561 -7.30%
General Science Issues
Science and technology are making
our live healthier, easier and more
comfortable 2.647 2.574 -2.80%
Science and technology will open up
more opportunities from my
generation 2.78 2.66 -4.30%
Pre-Camp Post-Camp
Average "Don't Know Enough"
option used per student per survey 1.25 0.53

Table 3 summaries the students’ opinions about select biotechnology topics and
how their opinions might have changed after the camps. The values reported are averages
with numerical values substituted for choices. The questions poised to students asked
whether they agreed (value 3), disagreed (value 1) or were neutral (value 2) with regards
to an issue. Students also had the option to answer questions as “Don’t Know Enough”.
The average use of the option “Don’t Know Enough” is detailed on the bottom of Table
3, however those numbers were not included in the calculated averages of the issues. The
colors represent changes from Pre-camp to Post-camp, green represents increase
agreement and a change greater or equal to 0.1. Yellow indicates no real change in the
students’ opinion, while red suggests that the students’ disagreed more strongly with a
biotechnology application after the camp.

Several important differences or trends were observed if one compares the Pre-
camp to the Post-camp surveys. However, it is not possible to draw strict conclusions
because the sample size was rather small (47 participants). More samples will be needed
in order to come up with a confidence interval as to actual opinion and position of the
general middle school student. Nonetheless, students appear to be able to take in
information and form an opinion from that data they obtained. This is evident just by the
shifts in opinion that were observed. Also important to note, no student disagreed with all
or even most of the issues, suggesting that the students were able to make distinctions
between the different issues and were making critical assessments. Since we asked the
students not to put their names on the surveys and remain anonymous, it is not possible to
see how many students changed their minds over the course of the camp, compared to
those who did not.

Students participated in group activities from experiments such as DNA isolation,


Transformation, and DNA separation by gel-electrophoresis, to panels with experts in
fields with various levels of biotechnology involved in them. Students were also given
the opportunity to learn about careers in biotechnology and the current headlines that
biotech is making. These activities were largely discussions facilitated by the camp
organizers, and providing students the opportunity to discuss any of the issues during
their free time.

The greatest opinion shift came from the issue on “use of genetic engineering for
agricultural crops and food”, which had a greater than +0.2 shift towards agreement
(Table 3, green highlighting). This was paralleled by similar increases supporting the use
of genetic engineering for the production of medicines. Importantly, while there was
strong support for the use of crops for such purposes, students expressed increased
support for animal use after the workshop. There was little change in the students’
opinions about several general science issues like the utility and value of biotechnology
for societal benefits (yellow highlighting). Interestingly, the issues that had the largest
movement towards disagreement (-0.2 ) was “use of genetic engineering to treat human
diseases” and potential of biotechnology for future generations (red highlighting). Also an
important statistic that can be seen in Table 3, is the use of the “Don’t Know Enough”
option. When comparing the Pre-camp and Post-camp the option was used less than half
of the time in the Post-camp than it was in the Pre-camp. In summary, it appears as if the
biotechnology camps did provide sufficient information for the students to identify
positions on key issues.

To have the biotechnology camps realize their full potential of educating middle
school students, several changes in how the camp is organized and run should be
considered. One example is the court case scenario, when scientists try to act like lawyers
presenting evidence, general misinformation about how a court is run, confusion, and bad
acting ensue. Conversely students commented that they enjoyed discussions, so it is
recommended that a group activity replace the final court scene, thus giving the students
a final chance to think and discuss the issues before they take the Post-camp test. The
students also seemed to respond to different teachers, so it is recommended that multiple
teachers operate the camp. This adds a two-fold benefit: one, instructors with different
strengths are involved; and two, it also gives students a variety of instructional
approaches. Several students also suggested that the camp should be longer. This would
be favorable if money is not a limiting factor, and sufficient chaperones are available,
because of the type thought-provoking information that the students are trying to absorb
in only two days. It is also suggested that the post-camp survey be changed to include
what the student perceives to be their future, this will help to better define the population
we have at the camps (A suggested survey is included in Appendix I).

The main objective with the execution of this camp was to get students to think
outside of a textbook, to think critically about information they receive and to interpret it.
While these students have little influence in the political processes of this country at this
time, they are the future and will be participants in the making of laws and policies
concerning biotechnology and science in general. It is, therefore, in our interest as
scientists and as a community in whole, to do the best we can do to provide them
essential information about the issues [because we are the experts], while at the same
time not trying to influence their opinions. Other researchers have also demonstrated the
need to reach out to middle school students in events such as mentoring programs (to
help enhance their science education)(2), or have consulted with public schools to ensure
that science courses expose students to basic concepts of biotechnology (6).While it is
possible and beneficial for us to motivate these students into a future of science, the
primary goal is to grow a more educated populace which is capable of making informed
decisions.

References

1) J. Poland. Physiology course for secondary school biology teachers. Am. J.


Physiol. 262 (Adv. Physiol. Educ. 7): SES17, 1992.

2) B. Torres, R. F. Harris, D. Lockwood, J. Johnson, R. Mirabal, D. T. Wells, M.


Pacheco, H. Soussou, F. Robb, G. Kuhn Weissman, and A. R. Gwosdow. A
Hospital/School Science Fair Mentoring Program For Middle School Students.
Adv Physiol Educ 273:47-54, 1997.

3) M. Sears, R. Hellmich, D. Stanley-Horn, K. Oberhauser, J. Pleasants, H. Mattila,


B. Siegfried, and G. Dively. Impact of Bt corn pollen on monarch butterfly
populations: a risk assessment. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 9 Oct 98.

4) Human Genome Project Information. 19 Oct 2004. 22 Nov 2005.


<http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/legislat.shtml>

5) P. Sturgis, H. Cooper, and C. Fife-Schaw. Attitudes to biotechnology:


estimating the opinions of a better-informed public. New Genetics and Society:
31-56 Apr 2005.

6) I. Rabino. Societal and Commercial Issues Affecting the Future of Biotechnology


in the United States: A survey of Researchers’ Perceptions. Naturwissenschaften
85, 109-116 (1998).

7) R. Lock and C. Miles. Biotechnology and Genetic-Engineering – Students


Knowledge and Attitudes. Journal of Biological Education: 267-272 WIN 1993.

Appendix List:

Appendix A: Pre-Camp Survey


Appendix B: Camp Schedule
Appendix C: Post-Camp Survey
Appendix D: Mock Trial Scenario
Appendix E: CSI Murder Mystery Scenario
Appendix F: Protocol for isolating Fruit/Veggie DNA
Appendix G: DNA Science in action (Transformation, Restriction Enzyme, Gel
Electrophoresis Protocols)
Appendix H: Data from surveys
Appendix I: Suggested Post-Camp survey

Appendix A:
Pre-Camp Survey
Please answer the following multiple choice questions by circling or checking your
answer.

1. The physical structure of DNA is like a:


a. Slinky c. Cube
b. Ladder d. Jungle gym

2. DNA is a double helix consisting of complementary strands. What would be the


complementary strand to the sequence A A G T C?
a. A T G C T c. T T C A G
b. G T C C T d. T A G A A

3. DNA can be extracted from fruit using:


a. Acid c. acid, alcohol (ethanol)
b. water, soap, salt, alcohol d. a and c

4. DNA fingerprinting is done with:


a. any biological material c. images from a finger
b. only dead people d. mostly newborn babies

5. Following proper scientific methods include:


a. Gathering information
b. Evaluating evidence
c. Drawing an informed conclusion
d. All of the above

6. Scientists have discovered that your DNA fingerprint is the same as:
a. 100 other people in the world
b. 1 million people in the world
c. Your identical twin’s
d. No one else’s

7. How likely would it be for you to read an article or listen to a TV or radio


program about biotechnology?
 Very likely  Somewhat likely  Not at all likely

8. How much interest in science/biotechnology as a possible career do you have?


 A lot  A little  None

9. How important is each of the following as your source of information about


science and technology?

Newspapers
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Magazines
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Scientific journals
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Books
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Internet
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Teachers
 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

Family and Friends


 A lot  somewhat  Not at all

10. In the following section, please rate your opinion of the following statements:

Science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier and more
comfortable
 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

Science and technology will open up more opportunities for my generation


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

The benefits of biotechnology outweigh the risks


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for
agricultural crops and food
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for the
production of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of farm animals for the production
of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of crops for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering to treat
human diseases
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of stem cells for research
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

11. What science classes have you taken


 biology  chemistry  earth sciences  any other advanced science
courses

12. How many books did you read last year?


 none  1-5  6-10  >10

13. My grade this fall will be:


 6th  7th  8th  9th

14. My age is:


 11  12  13  14

15. I am:  Male  Female

16. My racial-ethnic group is:


 Caucasian  African-American
 Asian  Hispanic
 Native American

17. My residence is:


 a farm  in the rural county  town of 10,000 or less

18. I belong to a 4-H club.  Yes  No

Other Comments:

Appendix B:
Day 1.
9:00 Orientation, receive t-shirts- Introduction- Assemble students in a
classroom type environment. Give students pre-camp survey. Welcome the
students to the area and introduce them to topics that are important to
cover for their understanding of the experiments that they are going to
perform. Topics suggested that should be covered are (in no particular
order) DNA, phenotype, genotype, plasmid, resistance, and sensitive. The
degree to the depth that should be covered in each topic is up to the
instructor based on the age group and academic background of the
students.

9:15- 10:15 Mock trial - A mock trial is conducted by the students, who learn the
process of the happenings of the courtroom from a lawyer or judge. After
the person shows the students the proper procedures the students are left to
their own to act out the case. The case summary is attached on Appendix
D.
10:15 Break
10:30-12:00 Visit crime scene- A camp’s park was the area that was the center that the
“murder” was designed around. The students are taken on a walk where
they eventually “stumble” on to the crime scene. A state trooper or local
police who is already there shows the students how the evidence is
collected and recorded and begins to be processed. After the students have
seen the area, explain to the students that there are a couple suspects to the
crime. Adults that were already selected are identified as suspects to the
students each with their own motives. The situation as well as the suspects
motives are attached at Appendix E.
12:00 Lunch
12:45 Begin processing samples in small groups-To have a little fun the first
experiment that is performed by the students is the extraction of DNA
from choice fruits. The fruit protocol used is attached on Appendix F.
3:00-3:15 Break- After the fruit experiment is performed the excess fruit is processed
to make smoothies out of, also to give the students a break before further
experiments are performed.
3:15 – 5:00 Continue lab work. Revisit scene if necessary. Transformation- three
series of transformation to be performed, one with a plasmid containing a
gene for Kanamycin (pKan), the other two involve transformations with
plasmids containing an Ampicillin (pAmp) resistance (also pBlueScript is
optional which also has resistance to Ampicillin, but has a different
restriction sites when compared to that of pAmp which gives different
bands when run on a gel). The protocol used is attached on Appendix D.
5:00 - 6:00 Free time
6:00 Dinner
6:45 -8:30 Students meet with Lawyers, begin planning strategy.
8:30-10:30 Evening Activities
11:30 Lights out
Day 2

7:00 Rise & Shine


8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Set up to analyze real DNA- Digestion- Enzymes were then used to
recognize specific sequences with the DNA code within the plasmid and to
“cut” that particular site. The enzymes HindIII and PstI (enzymes are
suggested based on the difference that the cuts appear on a gel) have one
hour to do their digestion. While the gel starts to run, discuss with the
students the observations that can be made for the plates with regards to
phenotype.
10:15 Break
10:30 Headliners and Career- Students explore careers available in
biotechnology, sciences, agricultural science, forensic science, etc.
12:00 Lunch- (Cabins need to be empty for inspection)
12:45 Review data- Talk with students about the photographs made of the gels
and convey the meaning of them with regards to genotype.
1:15 Ethics panel- The following persons were used for the ethics panel:
Minister; Extension Agriculture Agent; Professor of Entomology; Biotech
student. Panelists field questions from the students.
2:00-3:15 Prepare for murder trial
3:15 Conduct trial
4:30 Trial concludes, adults process experience with kids
4:45-5:00 Evaluation- Give post-camp survey, answer final questions students might
have, other wrap-up info as needed.
5:00 Leave camp

Appendix C:
Post-Camp Survey
Please answer the following multiple choice questions by circling or checking your
answer.

1. The physical structure of DNA is like a:


a. Slinky c. Cube
b. Ladder d. Jungle gym

2. DNA is a double helix consisting of complementary strands. What would be the


complementary strand to the sequence A A G T C?
c. A T G C T c. T T C A G
d. G T C C T d. T A G A A

3. DNA can be extracted from fruit using:


e. Acid c. acid, alcohol (ethanol)
f. water, soap, salt, alcohol d. a and c

4. DNA fingerprinting is done with:


g. any biological material c. images from a finger
h. only dead people d. mostly newborn babies

5. Following proper scientific methods include:


i. Gathering information
j. Evaluating evidence
k. Drawing an informed conclusion
l. All of the above

6. Scientists have discovered that your DNA fingerprint is the same as:
m. 100 other people in the world
n. 1 million people in the world
o. Your identical twin’s
p. No one else’s

7. How likely would it be for you to read an article or listen to a TV or radio


program about biotechnology?

 Very likely  Somewhat likely  Not at all likely

8. How much interest in science/biotechnology as a possible career do you have?

 A lot  A little  None

9. While attending the biotechnology camp, I did the following: (Check all that
apply).
 Gained knowledge  Asked questions
 Compared data  Chose between solutions
 Predicted results  Analyzed information
 Used information to make decisions

10. How well did you like the DNA Science camp?

 Very much  Somewhat  Not at all

11. How would you rate the DNA Science camp relative to other camps you have
attended?

 best  good  fair or poor

12. Has the DNA Science workshop stimulated you to think about the role of science
in society?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

13. Did the Workshop increase your interest in science?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

14. Did the Workshop increase your ability to understand new scientific information?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

15. Did the Workshop increase your confidence to understand scientific information?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

16. In the following section, please rate your opinion of the following statements:

Science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier and more
comfortable
 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

Science and technology will open up more opportunities for my generation


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

The benefits of biotechnology outweigh the risks


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for
agricultural crops and food
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for the
production of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of farm animals for the production
of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of crops for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering to treat
human diseases
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of stem cells for research
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

Other Comments:

Appendix D:
MOCK TRIAL

Citizen George Brown vs. Farmer Roy Wood,


Greenup County, Commonwealth of Kentucky
August 5, 2005
SITUATION:

Mr. George Brown and Farmer Wood are neighbors, sharing a 500 foot property
line in rural Greenup County. They have had a long standing feud. Farmer Wood has 25
head of cattle and is somewhat lazy in maintaining his fence row separating the two
properties. Farmer Brown works another job and only really has time to work the farm
seriously on the weekends.

Mr. Brown is always upset with Farmer Wood because the cattle have been out a
couple of times, roaming through his yard, damaging his flower gardens and leaving piles
of manure on his manicured lawn. His hobby is growing and propagating show roses.
He has patented two new varieties and, after 5 years of research, is close to perfecting a
new “blue rose” variety.

Mr. Brown is not well liked by any of his neighbors. On the other side of
Brown’s property lives Farmer Johnson, who has 20 head of cattle, 5 fertile sows, one
boar, and about 27 baby pigs. His biggest economic venture, however, is his barn of about
120 laying hens. Mr. Brown constantly complains about the smell.

The land behind the Brown home is a vacant field and often attracts kids on four
wheelers. The noise is particularly offensive to Mr. Brown and he has called the local
police numerous times to report them.

Across from Mr. Brown lives Widow Nelson, who still has the family Holstein
dairy cow she milks twice a day for milk, cream and butter. She sells the cream and
butter to some of her close friends, which keeps her in spending money. She keeps the
cow in the barn during the heat of the day and in the pasture in the cool of the evening.

When Mr. Brown returned from a two week vacation, he found his rose gardens
trampled and his “blue rose” experimental bush crushed to the ground, dying and turning
brown. Five black and white cows were in the yard. Several cow paddies covered with
flies, spotted his yard. A hole was in Farmer Wood’s fence. Mr. Brown blamed Farmer
Wood for the loss and is suing him for a million dollars in damages and potential loss of
income.

Farmer Wood contends his cattle have not been out. He explained the broken
fence was caused by a tree blowing down on it in a recent storm. Just that morning the
tree was removed from the fence so he could repair it.
When Mr. Brown discovered the dying rose bush, he immediately called the
police. Police Detective Short arrived on the scene and gathered the evidence. It
included:
 the dying rose bush
 samples from three different cow paddies
 some hoof prints and a size 13 right boot print and a partial print,
possibly a size 10 heel print. There were other prints but none clear
enough to positively ID.
 a sample of blood and hair on a partially destroyed Pink Lady rose
bush
 a chicken feather
Based on the evidence retrieved and the lab results, the case went to trial.

(Based on conversation with State Trooper Gollihue, a cow getting out and damaging
property does not constitute a crime unless we can show malicious intent on the part of
Farmer Wood, Johnson or Widow Nelson to destroy the “blue rose” bush. This would be
tried as a civil case).

Evidence:

Farmer Wood’s cow could not have destroyed the bush because the hole in the fence from
the downed tree was not exposed until just a few hours before Mr. Brown returned from
vacation. The rose bush was already dying. However, Farmer Wood does wear a size 13
boot.

There is no history of having problems with Farmer Johnson’s cows. However, both
Johnson and Wood have black and white cows. The problem with this neighbor was the
smell of the pigs and chickens. A close look at the cattle herd revealed one of the cows
had a flesh wound that was beginning to heal.

We can prove the cow which was in the garden had a small hoof, similar to the size of a
dairy cow. However, both Farmer s Wood and Johnson have some young heifers in their
herds.

Three weeks ago Widow Nelson heard Farmer Johnson and Mr. Brown having heated
words about the smell of the pigs and chickens. Mr. Brown threatened Johnson to do
something about the smell or he would put him out of business.

Final analysis:

Widow Nelson’s dairy cow got out of the barn stall when she left it unlocked after the
evening milking. She was grazing in Mr. Brown’s yard and garden when she was
spooked by one of Farmer Johnson’s chickens and took off through the rose garden.
When Widow Nelson discovered what was going on, she called Farmers Wood and
Johnson to come help her catch Betsy and return her to the stall in the barn. In the dark,
no one noticed the destroyed rose bush.
Appendix E:
CSI MURDER MYSTERY:

The Case of the Missing Formula


& the Murder of Professor Karen Phillips

SITUATION:
At 10:15 a.m. students attending a 4-H biotechnology camp discovered a dead
body along a lake side trail as they took a morning walk. As they arrive on the scene, the
Kentucky State Highway Patrolman is putting up a yellow crime scene tape to preserve
the scene. The female body had been pulled from the water by a State Park employee,
Erin Greenleaf at 8:30. The employee called the state police around 9:30. The coroner
had already arrived and watched as Trooper Gollihue began gathering evidence that will
help determine what happened at the scene. He sees several stab wounds in the chest,
defensive wounds on the wrists and hands. He gathers samples under her nails, blood
samples, takes photos of body and a nearby footprint. There is also a scrap of fabric with
some blood on it caught on some nearby twigs. He bags all the evidence and the coroner
places the body in a body bag to be taken to the morgue for autopsy.

VICTIM:
Students learn the victim is a visitor to the State Park. She was to speak to the
biotechnology camp that afternoon. Professor Karen Phillips is an assistant professor
and researcher at the University of Kentucky who has been doing some research on
genetics with the help of Professor David Hildebrand. They have recently discovered a
secret genetic coding sequence for livestock (pig, sheep and cattle) cloning. The formula
would not only create a faster gestation period, but also reduce the fat in the meat. More
high quality meat would be available on the market and could result in the reduction or
elimination of world hunger. The addition supply of hides would also add to the
commercial properties offered by these cloned animals. Professor Phillips was asked to
come to Greenbo State Park to share the findings with the biotech campers since
Professor Hildebrand could not attend. It is believed she had the cloning formula with
her, but it could not be found on her person or in her room. Later during the week she
was to fly to Washington D.C. to share her findings with the Secretarys of Agriculture,
Commerce, and Homeland Security and an ethics committee from the Department of
Agriculture.
Professor Phillips was 26 years old, married and had a medium size frame. She
was a workaholic, often putting in 70 hour weeks for the last 12 years, trying to perfect
the cloning formula. She was a chain smoker but had recently quit. Though very
feminine in all outwards appearances, her favorite past time was gambling on
professional sports games and she was heavily indebted to the Mafia .

SUSPECTS:
Four suspects quickly surfaced as the detective began his investigation:

Professor Hildebrand: The Professor had spent many long hours working on the
cloning formula and felt he had more ownership to the formula than Phillips did.
MOTIVE: He was jealous that at her young age, SHE was the one who made the critical
DNA sequencing connection. He thought he deserved the recognition alone.

Erin Greenleaf: Erin worked hard as a State Park employee. While having dinner with
Phillips and several other State Park employees the night before, she learned about
Professor Phillips’ discovery and its economic implications. MOTIVE: If she could get
the formula and sell it, she could leave the park service and the clearing of weeds,
shoveling snow, etc., and lead a more interesting life.

Bob Cannolli: Bob is the bookie Phillips uses to place her bets on the sports games. He
has been tracking Phillips to collect his overdue fee. She never returns his calls.
MOTIVE: Bob figures if he could get hold of the formula, he could sell it to counter
Phillips’ debt and use the rest of the money for some serious betting on his own. He
might even put his arch rival Ted Buschetti out of business.

Paul Smith: Mr. Smith overheard the dinner conversation the night before while he and
his family were eating in the Lodge dining room. He had always dreamed of his daughter
having the Grand Champion 4-H steer at the county fair and maybe even the Kentucky
State Fair. MOTIVE: If he could get hold of the formula, he could have the County Ag
Agent help him improve his herd and insure he would have the prize winning animal the
next year.

Ken Phillips, the husband: Though the couple has been married for only two years, the
fight a lot about Karen’s gambling debt. Currently, Mr. Phillips is in the Middle East
serving in the 21st Air Wing Division of the US Air Force.

EVIDENCE:

Shoe print: Shoe size and tread fit Erin Greenleaf’s shoe. She admits to pulling her out
of the water.
Chest wounds: T-shirt is covered with blood and shows several slash marks, presumably
from a knife. The Autopsy report shows a knife-like instrument entered the body at a
right-to-left angle with the victim’s body.
Wounds on wrists and hands: The wounds on her hands and wrists indicate she may
have tried to fight off her attacker. That suggests she was on the shore while being
attacked. She either then fell in the water or was pushed in.
Fingernail scrapings: Forensic lab is processing for fiber and possible DNA sample. No
report yet.
Fabric with blood stain: Fabric is being analyzed to match clothing worn by suspects
and the blood sample for DNA evidence. No report yet.
Empty Diet Dr. Pepper can: A can has been discarded near the scene. There is some
blood and a partial fingerprint.
Trail of blood: In addition to a pool of blood on the right side of the body, there is a trail
of blood leading to, or from, the body.
A driver’s license: The license is found in the right shorts pocket of the victim. It
contains name. Address, social security number and the information that she is married.
Appendix F:

Easy isolation/extraction protocol for isolating Fruit/Veggie


DNA
Adapted from Petra M. Frey

Vegetables, fruits, cereals and meat — all plant and animal products — contain DNA in
various amounts. DNA, the carrier of genetic information, the recipes or blueprints of an
organism, is made up of four different chemical units. These can be digested and used
just like any other nutrient in our food. A pound of broccoli, for example, contains about
a tenth of an ounce DNA.

Usually DNA is degraded during cooking, but even if DNA is eaten uncooked, like in the
case of apples, a tomato, or a salad, the DNA is degraded rapidly in our stomach. Eating
DNA should not be a concern: even mother’s milk contains high amounts of DNA,
because newborns have a higher need for them.

In this experiment we will isolate the DNA from a fruit/veggie to see what DNA actually
looks like. It will also give us an idea of the amount of DNA we eat and of some of its
physical properties.

Protocol

1. Chop one quarter of a tomato into very fine pieces. Mix 5 ml of extraction buffer*
with 2 squirts of dishwashing detergent (or DIAL, liquid soap) in a mortar/pestle.
Add the chopped fruit/veggie and grind for 1 minute to a fine slurry.

2. Strain the well-blended tomato through a two layers of paper tissue into a clean
tube.

3. Add an equal volume of water to the clear fruit/veggie mixture.

4. Carefully an equal volume of cold alcohol (95% ethanol). The alcohol should
float on top of the fruit/veggie mixture, but don’t worry if it mixes a bit.

5. At the layer between the fruit/veggie juice and alcohol you will see a whitish,
"snotty-looking", substance. This is DNA. Carefully swirl the two solutions in the
glass, to get more DNA. Make a small hook with a paper clip and reach in to hook
the stringy DNA and pull it out.

Congratulations, you're now on your way to becoming a


genetic engineer!

*Extraction buffer
in 1 liter of distilled water mix:
8.8 g Sodium chloride
44 g Sodium citrate
Appendix G: DNA Science in action

“WHO DID IT?”

This series of experiments simulates the process used to solve a criminal case through DNA fingerprinting.
You will receive 3 samples of DNA, one is evidence taken from a crime scene and the other two are from
suspects in custody! Your task is to determine if the DNA for either of the suspects matches that taken from
the crime scene. To accomplish this, you will perform 2 experiments.

The first experiment (I) is for you to determine which antibiotic resistance genes each of the DNA samples
have associated with them. This experiment will show you how genes, which are made up of DNA, confer
a particular phenotype.

The second experiment (II) is known as restriction enzyme analysis, a method of "cutting" DNA into very
discrete but discriminating pieces, then evaluating these fragments of DNA by gel electrophoresis.

Your goal is to use the results from these two experiments to decide if either of the suspects might have
been at the crime scene, and if they should be prosecuted for this crime.

I. FUNCTIONAL MAPPING OF DNA BY TRANSFORMATION INTO BACTERIA

This experiment is for you to determine which antibiotic


resistance genes each of the DNA samples have associated
with them. This experiment will show you how genes, which
are made up of DNA, confer a particular phenotype.
Your instructor will supply you with DNA samples from the two suspects, labeled S1 and S2, and one of
three possible DNA samples taken from the crime scene, labeled A, B or C. You should also receive a tube
of competent cells. The competent cells you will use are Escherichia coli (E. coli) that have been treated
such that they are able to take up DNA from the fluid surrounding them. Hence, they are called competent
because they are competent of taking up exogenous DNA. If that DNA happens to contain intact genes,
then there is a good chance the bacteria will express those genes through the process you know as the
central dogma (DNA is transcribed into RNA, RNA is translated into protein). Expression of a gene is often
"seen" by selecting for the expected phenotype. In your experiment, you will be selecting for antibiotic
resistance phenotypes.

Protocol
1. Pipetting and aliquoting of solutions
test tubes
1 2 3
DNA samples S1 10 µl - -
S2 - 10 µl -
unk (unknown) - - 10 µl
Competent cells 50 µl 50 µl 50 µl

2. Incubate the reactions for 10-30 minutes at room temperature.

3. Heat shock the cells -incubate the cells at 37-42 oC for 2 minutes (simply hold the tubes in your closed
hand).
4. Add 200 µl of liquid LB media to each tube, mix and allow cells to recover for 1 to 60 minutes at room
temperature with periodic gentle shaking. The longer you can allow the cells to recover the better, but if
time is short, simply proceed to step 6.

5. Take sterile cotton applicator and place in the broth of a suspect and spread it to the corresponding
sections on the plates.

6. Repeat step 5 for the remaining two DNA-E. coli samples

7. Invert all the plates and let them incubator overnight.

8. Score the plates for growth

What you might see and what you should do

Compare and contrast the growth on the LB plates to those containing antibiotic. Explain your reasoning
by drawing cartoon examples of E. coli cells containing or not containing foreign DNA. From the example
below, can you identify which of the suspects committed the crime?

II. PHYSICAL MAPPING OF DNA BY RESTRICTION ENZYME DIGESTION

This second experiment is a method of "cutting" DNA into very discrete but discriminating
pieces. Because any two pieces of DNA are not likely to have the same restriction enzyme recognition
sequences in the same positions along the DNA, restricting or "cutting" DNA with combinations of
restriction enzymes often generates DNA fragments which constitute a unique "fingerprint" of the DNA.
These fingerprints can be seen as patterns of DNA fragments separated by size in agarose gels and stained
with ethidium bromide.

Your instructor will supply you with DNA samples from the two suspects, labeled S1 and S2, and
a DNA sample taken from the crime scene, labeled UK.

Digestion of the DNA Sample with restriction enzymes


1. Pipetting and aliquoting of solutions
test tubes
1 2 3
DNA samples S1 10 µl - -
S2 - 10 µl -
A (unknown) - - 10 µl
Reaction Buffer 2 µl 2 µl 2 µl
Restriction Enzymes HindIII 1 µl 1 µl 1 µl
Pst I 1 µl 1 µl 1 µl

2. Incubate the reactions for 30-120 minutes at room temperature.

3. Add 2 µl of Tracking Dye to each sample and examine the DNA by gel electrophoresis

4. You will be provided with an agarose gel immersed in buffer solution in a gel box by the instructor.

5. Load 10 µl per well for each of the DNA samples that you digested earlier. A fourth sample you should
load is the molecular weight standards - a sample containing DNA molecules of different, known sizes (see
below for sizes).

Note: The samples are blue and heavy. The blue dye is a tracking dye to help you see your sample during
loading and to see how your gel is running. The samples contain glycerol which makes the samples heavy.
This is important so that when you load your samples in a well, the sample "falls" into the well.
6. Connect the gel box electrical leads to the power supply. Black to black and red to red.

7. Turn on the power and adjust the voltage to 175 volts. A typical run takes approximately 30 min. You can
tell if your gel is running properly if the blue tracking dye migrates into the gel.

8. Only the instructor will be allowed to directly touch your gels. The gels contain a dye specific for
binding to DNA. The dye binds to the DNA and when irradiated with UV light, the dye-DNA
complexes fluoresces orange.

10. Place the gel on the UV light box and view it through the Plexiglas shield. UV light is dangerous too!
Direct exposure to the UV light can cause burns. The most sensitive part of your body to UV light is your
eyes. Never look at a UV light source directly without any eye protection (i.e.. protective glasses or a
Plexiglas shield).

5. Take a picture of your gel. Using the gun-camera, place the hood over the UV light, turn on the UV light
and pull the trigger. Pull your exposure from the camera, wait 60 seconds, then reveal the picture.

What you might see and what you should do

Draw a cartoon picture of the gel picture, then develop an explanation to account for the results. Start by
drawing a couple of circles to represent the plasmid DNA used in these experiments. How many times did
the DNA have to be “cut” by the restriction enzymes to generate the banding patterns observed? Now, can
you use the data to really determine if either of the suspects was at the crime scene?
Appendix H:
Student’s Surveys
Pre-Camp Agree Neutral Disagree Don't Know Enough
Science and technology are making our live
healthier, easier and more comfortable 33 18 0 0

Science and technology will open up more


opportunities from my generation 40 9 1 1

The benefits of biotechnology out weigh the


11 38 1 1
risks
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use
of genetic engineering for agricultural crops
and food 10 19 5 16

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use


of genetic engineering for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines) 17 13 5 14

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use


of farm animals for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines) 11 20 12 8

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use


of crops for the production of pharmaceuticals
(medicines) 30 9 3 8

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use


of genetic engineering to treat human
diseases 33 8 1 8

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use


of stem cells for research 17 21 4 8

Post-Camp Agree Neutral Disagree Don't Know Enough


Science and technology are making our live
healthier, easier and more comfortable 28 18 1 0
Science and technology will open up more
opportunities from my generation 32 14 1 0

The benefits of biotechnology out weigh the risks 13 27 6 1


To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
genetic engineering for agricultural crops and
food 22 19 2 4
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
genetic engineering for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines) 27 16 1 3
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
farm animals for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines) 15 19 9 4
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
crops for the production of pharmaceuticals
(medicines) 28 11 0 8
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
genetic engineering to treat human diseases 24 16 1 4
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of
stem cells for research 22 17 6 1

Comments: (asked students to write


comments about Clay and the way [Stem cell research]
he taught whether it was good or "The ethics panel Rv [reverend] and Dr. David would not Adults-yes
bad) tell where they stood on issues, skimped questions." Embryonic-No
"You need to break up your lectures"

"I loved this camp! It was great, but I wish it was longer. I
like discussing things as a group altogether. I like
discussions more than experiments. I do like breaks
though. I like mixing fun and learning. I WANNA COME
BACK!!! P.S. Spoons are cool and banana boats are
really good!"

"Try to make things more interactive when your teaching


us about different things instead of just a lecture."
"I loved bio camp! It was a blast. I got to meet new
people. Learn a lot more than I ever thought I would but
most of all I loved it."
"Less on the Jokes"
"I feel that all the teachers did an excellent job. I liked
how Clay kept going over and over the information so
we understood it was important. Also Clay was very
funny I guess."

"His jokes were kinda funny but they would be even


more funny if you made it so we could understand it. I
also would have wished we went swimming."
"They all put on a good camp"

"Have to think about stem cell research. Longer breaks."


"I like the 1/2 hour things and also liked group activities.
And the Folders. We like spoons."
We could have stayed longer than day and half also
there needed to be more free time."
"We like Spoons!!! And camp needs to be longer… to
play spoons and CSI stuff."
"Science camp was great I learned a lot. Clay and Scott
were fun."
"I don't like [farm
animals used for
the production of
"This was an Amazing camp. Everyone truly enjoyed it! pharmaceuticals]
We learned a lot and in a fun way! Clay and Scott but in the long run it
Rock!" will help us
"Great camp good job"

"Stem cells ok, but


"Clay: great job. All others: great job. Next time get a not when taken
priest for the ethics panel." from embryos."
"Clay is a awesome teacher and helped me understand
more about biotechnology"
"I loved 4-H Biotechnology camp. I thought Clay and
Scott were great instructors. (Somewhat funny)."
"I learned a great deal about biotechnology but mostly I
learned SPOONS."
"SPOONS rocks"
"More food, longer breaks"
"Spoons are shiny, we held hands a lot at camp."

"I wanna thank everyone because the past two days


have been really fun and I learned a lot of new things. It
wasn't like sitting in class reading from a book and being
bored it was like enjoying yourself and learning at the
same time. It also gave me an idea for a career goal. So
thank you Clay, Scott, and everyone form the U.K. for
making science fun...funny...and a lot more interesting."
"NO"
"Your crazy"
":)"
"I like the way you teach with such energy"
"Learning about all [of] this info has been fun [I] had a
great time"
"I thought Clay was an AWESOME teacher!!"
"I like the way Clay taught it wasn't [to] boring. I was sort
of exciting."
"THIS WAS FUN!"
"Your teaching was awesome! I had so much fun!"
"The counselors were great!"
Appendix I:

Post-Camp Survey

Please answer the following multiple choice questions by circling or checking your
answer.

12. The physical structure of DNA is like a:


a. Slinky c. Cube
b. Ladder d. Jungle gym

13. DNA is a double helix consisting of reverse, complementary strands. What would
be the reverse complementary strand to the sequence 5’ A A G T C 3’?
a. 3’ A T G C T 5’ c. 3’ T T C A G 5’
3’ G T C C T 5’ d. 3’ T A G A A 5’

14. DNA can be extracted from fruit using:


a. Acid c. acid, alcohol (ethanol)
b. water, soap, salt, alcohol d. a and c

15. DNA fingerprinting is done with:


a. any biological material c. images from a finger
b. only dead people d. mostly newborn babies

16. Following proper scientific methods include:


a. Gathering information
b. Evaluating evidence
c. Drawing an informed conclusion
d. All of the above

17. Scientists have discovered that your DNA fingerprint is the same as:
a. 100 other people in the world
b. 1 million people in the world
c. Your identical twin’s
d. No one else’s

18. How likely would it be for you to read an article or listen to a TV or radio
program about biotechnology?

 Very likely  Somewhat likely  Not at all likely

19. How much interest in science/biotechnology as a possible career do you have?

 A lot  A little  None

9. While attending the biotechnology camp, I did the following: (Check all that
apply).
 Gained knowledge  Asked questions
 Compared data  Chose between solutions
 Predicted results  Analyzed information
 Used information to make decisions

10. How well did you like the DNA Science camp?

 Very much  Somewhat  Not at all

11. How would you rate the DNA Science camp relative to other camps you have
attended?

 best  good  fair or poor

12. Has the DNA Science workshop stimulated you to think about the role of science
in society?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

13. Did the Workshop increase your interest in science?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

14. Did the Workshop increase your ability to understand new scientific information?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

15. Did the Workshop increase your confidence to understand scientific information?

 yes, quite a bit  somewhat  not at all

16. In the following section, please rate your opinion of the following statements:

Science and technology are making our lives healthier, easier and more
comfortable
 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

Science and technology will open up more opportunities for my generation


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

The benefits of biotechnology outweigh the risks


 agree  somewhat agree  disagree

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for
agricultural crops and food
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough
To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering for the
production of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of farm animals for the production
of pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of crops for the production of
pharmaceuticals (medicines)
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of genetic engineering to treat
human diseases
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

To what extent do you favor or oppose the use of stem cells for research
 favor  neutral  oppose  don’t know enough

How much interest in science/biotechnology as a possible career do you have?


 A lot  A little  None

17. Please check the most likely answer for you:

I plan on attending High School  yes  no  not applicable (NA)

I plan on receiving a High School Degree  yes  no  NA

I plan on attending College  yes  no  NA

Please check all the type of institutions you are likely to attend

 community college  regional college

 regional university (offers advanced degrees, for example Masters and Ph.D.)

 UK or UofL

 college or university in another state

Other Comments: